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Maybe It's A Great College Counselor That's Needed

Private Schools students are successful at getting into college but, it's not the curriculum that sets them apart.

Photo of Ryan Zimmerman

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Previously I had the pleasure of working at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta Georgia.  Some of our work at the school has been documented on this website and I am very grateful for that support. Many people judge private institutions as having a leg up on public schools in placing students into university settings. Here are a few numbers:

1. In 8 years of graduating classes no student has ever not received an acceptance into a 4 year institution.

2. 3 years ago the graduating class of 40 had over $4 Million dollars in scholarship offers.

Now the assumption should be that: These are affluent students, in a strong academic setting. Therefore they should be primed to receive opportunities to gain acceptance into college.

Heres the kicker, many of these students are as normal academically as the average public school students. Many receive up to full tuition coverage based on need. Test score wise they rank on par or slightly above.

What I've learned is this. It's all about a students access to a talented College Counselor. For a senior class of 80 Mount Vernon has 2 college counselors. They are able to structure the college application experience. They have access to huge resources for scholarships and grant programs.

The best part for these counselors is that they are very different than traditional high school counselors. Their whole job is focused on pushing a kid into a college and helping them receive as much aid as possible. They do not deal with behavioral issues and there is a balanced number of students per counselor.

Personally growing up I never had any assistance from a qualified professional and support staff such as this is not a high priority for a Title 1 institution.

What if the key to helping under privileged students is helping them gain the same quality resources such as talented top tier College Counselors?

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

What if the key to helping under privileged students is helping them gain the same quality resources such as talented top tier College Counselors?

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Photo of Angela Shang

Hi Ryan,

I completely agree with you! Even outside of specific college counselors, high school students need all the help they can get in any form, whether that be from older siblings and students, teachers, etc. I know that when I was applying for college, I tried to utilize as many sources of help and insight as possible to make the process easier.

Unfortunately, I have also seen firsthand the detriment of less dedicated college counselors. I have had friends who did not get to attend their dream universities due to their college counselors failing to submit required paperwork and not giving sufficient information to students. Even though the situation eventually worked out for my friends, I imagine there are many more students who didn't have as ideal a story. Thus, it is critical that more focus is placed on making sure college counselors are helping students effectively.

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